Commonwealth Games Blogs

India or bust

India has always eluded me.

In my 10 years on the Canadian badminton team, I've traveled to more than 50 countries, but never to India. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't by choice. I've been dying to go. I've even had the visa stamp in my passport, the plane ticket bought and the accommodations booked. But on four different occasions, the trip fell through.

Back in 2004, I was going to do some training and touring in India with a group of younger players from Vancouver, but I had to cancel because I got selected to go to the Olympics in Athens (so I was actually happy that one fell through). A couple of years later, a scheduling conflict forced me to bow out of a tournament. Then, last summer, a hip injury kept me from competing in the world championships in Hyderabad.

But nothing is going to stop me from going to Delhi in October to compete for Canada at the XIX Commonwealth Games. This time, it's India or bust.

In just under 40 days, India will welcome thousands of athletes from around the world to host the biggest sporting event the subcontinent has ever seen. Back home in Canada, the athletes on our badminton team are busy preparing, sharpening our bodies and our minds for an event that, for many of us, will be the biggest experience of our sporting careers so far.
This will be my second Commonwealth Games, as I had the privilege of competing in Melbourne four years ago. Now I'm the only Commonwealth veteran on a youthful team.


Despite their young ages, we've got an awesome team of badminton players heading to Delhi. I'll admit, I'm the oldest. My recent 30th birthday has prevented me from hiding behind my fave "around the mid-20s" response to any brave rookie who dares ask my age. But I'm hopeful that my years of experience will mesh well with the youthful energy of this team.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the 10-player Canadian Commonwealth badminton team.

Joining me on the women's side are four talented and very skilled shuttlers: Joycelyn Ko, Grace Gao, Michelle Li and Alexandra Bruce. Joycelyn and I train together in Vancouver at the ClearOne Badminton Centre, Grace plays out of Calgary, and Michelle and Alex hail from a little town back east called Toronto.

On the guy's side, Jon Vandervet of Edmonton heads up the charge as the senior-most player. David Snider of Winnipeg, Vancouver's Alvin Lau, and Cowtown's Alex Pang and Toby Ng round out the team.

The most talent I've ever seen

There are two parts to the Commonwealth Games badminton tournament that will take place in Delhi: the individual and the team competitions. In the team event, which starts things off on Oct. 7, we'll battle the likes of Malaysia, Singapore, India, England and many more for a shot at the medals. The format calls for five matches in five different disciplines. So there's one women's singles match, one men's singles, one women's doubles, one men's doubles, and one mixed doubles.

After the weeklong team event, the individual tournament will begin. It's a single-knockout draw, with all the Canadian athletes listed above competing in their respective disciplines for a shot at a coveted Commonwealth medal.

I've had the honour of representing Canada at several multi-sport games over the past 10 years, including the last two Olympics. I've shared the bench with Canadian badminton greats like Denyse Julien, Mike Beres, Andrew Dabeka, Milaine Cloutier and the Milroy brothers to name a few.

But, of all those teams, I believe the one heading to Delhi in October has the most talent.

I'm not guaranteeing results, but I will definitely say that this team is one to watch.